The mood on
the current water year forecast at Oregon Water
Resources Department’s open house on Tuesday in
Chiloquin was one of ‘wait and see’ until more
information is available as early as January 2020.
informal gathering was held as an exchange of resources
and a chance to ask officials about water regulation on
the Klamath Project and Upper Klamath Basin.
is the program manager of surface water hydrology for
OWRD, chairs the state’s Water Supply Availability
Committee, and co-chairs the Drought Readiness Council.
of about a dozen OWRD staff on hand for the gathering,
said despite recent storms in the Klamath Basin, levels
aren’t what they should be.
this time of year, we are behind as far as water supply
goes,” Stahr said.
Precipitation in the Klamath Basin is currently at 50%
of where is should be this time of year, according to
water equivalent is 75%, but Stahr said it’s premature
until January to gauge from it what kind of year it will
little bit concerned but it’s also a little bit early,”
Kizer, a rancher in the Wood River Valley in the Upper
Klamath Basin, was among attendees at the open house.
said he’s happy to see precipitation through the recent
snow and rain in the Basin, he’s cautious about being
too optimistic about the water year, given the last year
and the outcome for he and other ag producers.
wet snow and then you need it to clear off and freeze,”
that’s there under those circumstances is there until
the middle of June or later.”
gauging what the water year could look like to a
gathering place for agriculture producers, the open
house served as a way for OWRD staff to exchange
information about the water year with those who need it.
questions, ask questions, exchange information,” said
Dani Watson, watermaster for Klamath County.
into the whole call for water,” Watson added. “People
sometimes don’t understand how that works.”
Basin is the only region in Kyle Gorman’s management
area – Deschutes Basin and Klamath and Lake counties –
that has its own website for tracking water calls for
affects so many people, it’s so widespread,” Gorman
said. “And it’s so complicated.”
worked for OWRD for 18 years and said the last several
have experienced the most change in regulation.
Klamath Basin in 2013 completely changed,” Gorman said.
“There was existing adjudicated areas and there was
minor regulation but once the general adjudication for
the entire Basin came out, that changed everything. We
went from very small, minor regulations to complete
stream regulations, top to bottom – every water right
Much of the
complication of the groundwater system is also the
geology of the area, according to hydrogeologist Mike
“Everything’s getting diverted in different ways,” Thoma
item addressed at the open house was next steps by OWRD
in regard to well regulation at present and in the
of 2021, we have to take some action to renew, possibly
revise Division 25 rules,” said Tom Paul, special
assistant to the director of OWRD.
short-term Division 25 rules were approved by the Oregon
Water Commission in April that regulate wells within 500
feet of surface water. The rules impact seven wells.
something in place to move forward,” Paul said.
step is to potentially put together a rules advisory
committee and let the committee then provide input as to
what their recommendation suggestions are moving
forward,” he added.